FergusonRed Bank Regional senior Joseph Ferguson attained his Eagle Scout Rank by supervising the construction of 10 cajons (simple drums) for Thurgood Marshall Elementary School in Asbury Park. He is pictured with the cajons, and the school’s music teacher Micki Stukane. 

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

As a senior in the Visual and Performing Arts Academy (VPA) at Red Bank Regional High School, Joseph Ferguson of Little Silver has used every opportunity to make his passion for music part of his life, both in and out of school. A piano major, he plays the keyboard in RBR’s jazz band, and doubles as a percussionist in the concert band. He also volunteers his music talents with the summer band camp program at his alma mater Markham Place Middle School, and played in the pit band for school musical productions. Joe earned membership in the Tri-M Music Honor Society, and outside of school has entertained at restaurants and parties.

So when it came time for this member of Little Silver’s Boy Scout Troop 126 to choose an Eagle Scout project, Joe looked to music to help him achieve the highest level in scouting. He discovered the inspiration during a visit to an Asbury Park music store, where he encountered a “build it yourself” kit for a cajon, a six-sided, box-shaped South American percussion instrument played by slapping the front or rear faces (usually thin plywood) with the hands and fingers.

“I wanted to build something that would be a good learning tool for a school and that would hold up well with little kids,” he explains. “So I researched it and designed a more professional model to build.”

He then contacted percussionist and music teacher Micki Stukane of the Thurgood Marshall Elementary School in Asbury Park, to see if her students would benefit from the instruments. She was very enthusiastic about the project.

Joe then sought donations to acquire wood, snares, and other necessary materials to create ten cajons. By late fall of 2014, he and a crew of 16 volunteers (including fellow scouts, family and friends) completed the instruments over the course of several weekends — and by December, he was able to present the boxes to Ms. Stukane, who incorporated them into her music classes.

Joe felt he gained a lot of leadership and management skills in the supervision of a complicated project.  He intends to continue his study of music in college upon his high school graduation, and aspires to become a professor teaching either music theory or ethnomusicology.

“Music became my passion as a result or innumerable opportunities I enjoyed at an early age,” he states, adding that “as I grow older, I feel obliged to provide similar experiences to younger students in the hope that they, too, may find joy in music.”